The Japan Art Association announced that Zaha Hadid will be honored with the Praemium Imperiale for excellence in architecture at an awards ceremony on October 22. The annual global arts prize recognizes artists in the fields of architecture, painting, sculpture, theater and film, and music. Zaha Hadid was born in Baghdad, Iraq and decided on a career in architecture at the age of 11. After studying architecture in London, she established her own practice there at the age of 30. In the past, she was said to be famous not for the buildings she had built, but for the ones she had not built. However, in recent years her original and idiosyncratic vision has brought her increasing recognition. She has gone from success to success with major projects, starting in 1994 with her first public commission, Vitra Fire Station in Germany. In 2004, she became the first woman awarded the Pritzker Prize, known as the Nobel for architecture. Hadid’s works are characterized by fluid, dynamic exteriors, interweaving geometric curves, straight lines and sharp angles. Her ongoing works include London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics and high-profile projects in the Middle East and Europe as well as in countries like China, Taiwan and Russia. She also designs furniture and interiors, and in Japan she made interior designs for a restaurant in Sapporo and a boutique in Tokyo. Past laureates in the architecture category include Peter Zumthor (2008), Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron (2007), Frei Otto (2006), Taniguchi Yoshio (2005), Oscar Niemeyer (2004), Rem Koolhaas (2003), Norman Foster (2002), Jean Nouvel (2001), Richard Rogers (2000), Fumihiko Maki (1999), Alvaro Siza (1998), Richard Meier (1997), Tadao Ando (1996), Renzo Piano (1995), Charles Correa (1994), Kenzo Tange (1993), Frank Gehry (1992), Gae Aulenti (1991), James Stirling (1990) and Ieoh Ming Pei (1989).
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